When you look around the world, you don’t have to look hard to see many examples of injustice. From abortion to racism and other forms of discrimination, you see injustice and feel a call to do something, but you don’t know what. Or how. How can we as Catholics live out Catholic Social Teaching and make our world more just when there is so much to be done?
Monsignor Stuart Swetland addressed this recently on an episode of Go Ask Your Father™. He pointed out that fighting injustice is part of living out the Gospel. He said, “I actually spent the morning with some of my faculty talking about the importance of teaching the whole Gospel – including the social teaching. As St. Paul VI said, they are a constituent element of the Gospel. In other words, you can’t preach the whole Gospel and leave out the social teaching.”
As far as how we can personally fight injustice, Msgr. Swetland recommended something simple yet very powerful. “What we are called to do, each and every one of us, is to live our vocations to the full,” he said. “You see, there’s people who are called by their specialty, by their vocation, by what God has given them as far as abilities and callings to sanctify the world. To make the world holy in their field. So there are lawyers, doctors, activists, economists, and all kinds of professionals (and non-professionals) out there who are called to sanctify all these various areas that are out there.”
“Take the Church’s social teaching and try to implement it in our vocation, in accordance with what we are called to do, and really try to make our part of the world like the Kingdom,” he continued. “That means our neighborhoods, our families, the places we work, all of that. If every Catholic-Christian was doing that, it would be transformative.”
But if it seems as though the injustices are too great, the opposition too strong, Msgr. Swetland offered the example of the Civil Rights Movement as an example of how individuals can work together, though facing great opposition, to make our world more just.
Of the Civil Rights Movement, Msgr. Swetland said, “It took Christians, and other men and women of good will, inspired by the truth about the dignity of every human person – no matter what their color, creed, or sex – to transform our society so we didn’t have as many unjust laws in those areas. I’m thinking of the Jim Crow laws, the racial discrimination laws, the zoning laws, the redlining laws, and all those kinds of things.”
“So it takes Christians taking the Gospel and really living it,” he repeated. “Living it to the whole and living it in a radical way. That’s what the Civil Rights Movement did and it transformed our world. We’re in a much better place in civil rights than we were when I was a child. We’ve got a long way to go yet, but we’re in a better place than we were thanks to the actions by many dedicated Christians.”
Listen to the full conversation below: